Body Lice On Clothing: How Long Can They Survive?
Nearly everybody has heard of head lice, the common parasite that lives in the hair, but some may be unfamiliar with body lice. Just like head lice, body lice are a type of parasitic louse that can infest human clothing and skin. How long can body lice survive on clothing? Here we discuss what is known about its life cycle and how it can be prevented.
What Are Body Lice?
Body lice are tiny parasitic insects that infest the clothes and bedding of an infected person, feeding on their blood. They lay eggs in seams or crevices of clothing and bedding, which are then hatched into nymphs. These nymphs then feed on the blood of their host to moult and become an adult louse.
How Long Can They Survive?
Body lice can live for up to three weeks in optimal environmental conditions. These conditions require a temperature between 68- 80 °F and a relative humidity of 40-50 %. If the lice are exposed to temperatures of 98.6 °F, they can die in as little as minutes.
Additionally, environmental factors such as heat, cold, humidity and drying can all affect the life expectancy of body lice. For instance, if the lice are exposed to temperatures of 113 °F for 3 minutes, they will die. Alternatively, if lice are exposed to a freezing temperature, they will survive but will become inactive until they are exposed to warmer temperatures and humidity.
How to Prevent Body Lice?
To prevent body lice, it is important to practice proper hygiene, such as regular washing of clothing and bedding. Additionally, avoid sharing clothes and bedding amongst people who may have lice.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when trying to prevent body lice:
- Wash clothes and bedding regularly at a temperature of at least 130°F.
- Vacuum furniture, mattresses, and carpets.
- Encourage children to avoid close contact with people who may have lice.
- Keep hair clean and tidy.
- Check for lice regularly.
In conclusion, body lice can survive for up to three weeks in ideal environmental conditions. It is important to practice proper hygiene, such as regular washing of clothing and bedding, and to avoid close contact with people who may have lice in order to prevent an infestation.